New council to hash out Climate Law details

Keit Kasemets.
Keit Kasemets. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Estonia's planned Climate Law will lay down goals and bureaucratic tools with which to achieve targets. How exactly those tools will be used to change life in Estonia remains unclear.

Talking about the future of forestry, manufacturing or agriculture, politicians are increasingly suggesting answers will be provided by Estonia's incoming Climate Law. Relevant discussions will officially kick off at the Radisson Hotel in Tallinn come September.

Secretary General of the Ministry of Climate Keit Kasemets said that a Climate Council will be convened even before that, which he likened to the Fiscal Council. "The role of the Climate Council will be to provide input for the process, look at intermediate results and assess performance once the Climate Law is ready," Kasemets explained.

The secretary general said that preparations for the Council are underway, alongside three analyses to gauge the effect of possible decisions and measures on CO2 emissions, map Estonia's climate obligations, and finally find sources of financing.

Kasemets said that the Climate Council will be made up of scientists and specialists from various fields, including information technology, transport and energy. The composition of the roughly 15-member Council will be made public in August.

The advisory council will be complemented by a Climate Law executive group made up of ministry and agency representatives tasked with making sure the process does not stall.

The law will lay down the framework, ambitions regarding Estonia's goals for 2030, 2040 and 2050, as well as sectoral climate contributions. The Climate Law will likely not elaborate on concrete activities needed to reach those goals.

"Where we see the need for legislative changes is use of resources," Kasemets said. "To give companies long-time certainty in terms of which resources are available at which conditions." He gave the examples of oil shale and peat.

Thirdly, the Climate Law is set to lay down procedures, framework and tools future governments can use to plot a course for meeting goals.

Keit Kasemets said that incoming debates could go well beyond the confined of the planned law. "We want to launch an active public debate over possible future climate steps in Estonia."

Minister of Climate Kristen Michal is set to visit up to seven counties and organize public debates dubbed the Arvamusrännak (Opinion Trek) in four major cities to spark wider debate.

"Everyone interested will get a say there," Kasemets promised. "We will try to do our homework to provide as many choices and topics for discussion as possible," he said.

The ministry wants to send the bill out for approval in May and take it to the parliament next fall. Kasemets hopes that Estonia's Climate Law will enter into force on January 1, 2025.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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